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finesse

[fi-ness] /fɪˈnɛss/
noun
1.
extreme delicacy or subtlety in action, performance, skill, discrimination, taste, etc.
2.
skill in handling a difficult or highly sensitive situation; adroit and artful management:
exceptional diplomatic finesse.
3.
a trick, artifice, or stratagem.
4.
Bridge, Whist. an attempt to win a trick with a card while holding a higher card not in sequence with it, in the hope that the card or cards between will not be played.
verb (used without object), finessed, finessing.
5.
to use finesse or artifice.
6.
to make a finesse at cards.
verb (used with object), finessed, finessing.
7.
to bring about by finesse or artifice.
8.
to avoid; circumvent.
9.
to make a finesse with (a card).
10.
to force the playing of (a card) by a finesse.
Origin
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English: degree of excellence or purity < Middle French < Vulgar Latin *fīnitia. See fine1, -ice
Synonyms
1, 2. tact, diplomacy, savoir faire, circumspection, sensitivity, sensibility.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for fin-esse

finesse

/fɪˈnɛs/
noun
1.
elegant skill in style or performance
2.
subtlety and tact in handling difficult situations
3.
(bridge, whist) an attempt to win a trick when opponents hold a high card in the suit led by playing a lower card, hoping the opponent who has already played holds the missing card
4.
a trick, artifice, or strategy
verb
5.
to manage or bring about with finesse
6.
to play (a card) as a finesse
Word Origin
C15: from Old French, from fin fine, delicate; see fine1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fin-esse
finesse
1528, from M.Fr. finesse "fineness, subtlety," from O.Fr. fin "subtle, delicate" (see fine (adj.)). The verb is first attested 1746.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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